The Simplicity of Japanese Décor

Posted on Aug 20, 2014

japanese room
Japanese Interior Design

What if life thrived on simplicity and the common denominators that most mathematicians agree on? Let’s go a bit deeper . . . If you had a bedroom with limited space to work or play with, what would you do? Would you hang things from the ceiling? Or would you divide the room with a Shoji screen to make it look more spacious? Even if your bedroom is big enough to accommodate a sleepy choir, it would still acquire an element of mystery by adding a room-divider here and there, especially in front of your closet. Whether your bedroom is large or small, the nice thing about screens or room-dividers is that you can move them anytime and anywhere you want. You can use them to block an irritating draft or create a mobile dressing-room. These make-shift walls are the perfect representation of the themes of simplicity and convenience, ideas at the core of Japanese Décor and Interior Design

By incorporating many of these principals listed below into one’s Home or Office Décor one can begin to enjoy some of the beauty and aesthetic of these Japanese Motifs.

Wabi-sabi (?) is an aesthetic, comprehensive Japanese world view . Wabi initially referred to the solitude of living with nature, apart from society; sabi  is defined as "withered", "thin", or "lean". Some time around the 14th century, these definitions shifted, taking on more positive connotations. Wabi now connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and can be applied to natural as well as human creations or understated elegance. It can also refer anomalies that arise from the process of construction, which add originality to an object. Sabi stands for the serenity of beauty that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are revealed.

After hundreds of years of incorporating Buddhist influences from China, wabi-sabi eventually became a distinct Japanese ideal. Over time, wabi and sabi took on the new meanings of hope and lightheartedness. Around 700 years ago, particularly among the Japanese nobility, the understanding of emptiness and imperfection was honored as tantamount to satori or spiritual liberation. In Japan today, the meaning of wabi-sabi is often summarized as "wisdom in natural simplicity." In literature and art, it is typically defined as flawed beauty. 
From the point-of-view of engineering, wabi could be interpreted as the imperfection of an object, due to inevitable limitations in design, especially in relation to unpredictability or changing conditions. Sabi could also beinterpreted as a form of imperfect reliability or limited mortality. Although the Japanese characters 錆 (sabi/rust) and 寂 (sabi, as above) are different in their applied meanings, the spoken word  is believed to basically the identical word. 

roomAfter centuries of importing artistic and Buddhist influences from China, wabi-sabi evolved into a distinctly Japanese ideal, and the definitions of wabi and sabi became more lighthearted and hopeful; in fact, many Japanese people saw emptiness and imperfection as essential to the first step to satori or enlightenment. In modern-day Japan, wabi-sabi is often condensed to mean "wisdom in natural simplicity." In the world of art it is normally defined as "flawed beauty." From an engineering viewpoint, wabi may be interpreted as the imperfect quality of any object, due to inevitable limitations in design and construction, especially with respect to unpredictable applications. So, sabi could be interpreted as the quality of imperfect reliability or limited mortality, which led to the phonological and etymological connection with the Japanese word sabi, which means “to rust”.


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